Niger borders Nigeria, Mali and Ghana, and as is appropriate at a crossroads, there are countless cultural and musical influences, including Highlife, Afrobeat, Touareg blues and North African hip hop. It all melds into a tight and irresistible blend in Niger’s most beloved musical sons, Tal National. Formed in 2000, Tal National spent more than a decade crisscrossing their native land, usually on dirt pathways through the Sahara, playing epic five-hour sets, seven days a week, selling their CDs on street corners and roundabouts, becoming Niger’s most popular band the hard way.
When they signed to FatCat Records and released Kaani in 2013 (their first release outside of Niger), Western audiences were belatedly brought into the club. After listing Kaani in its top 10 albums of 2013, The New York Times wrote that "the music keeps leaping ahead with one surprise after another: guitar parts that align and diverge and reconfigure, drumming that pounces on offbeats. The patterns are crisp, complex and tireless". National Public Radio raved about "the band's tightness and fiery energy" and The Guardian praised "their full-tilt approach and hypnotic intensity." Album followed album in the band’s ongoing quest to package the party for personal use, and the accolades heaped thick and fast. Tal National have spent the last five years touring and recording, including several tours of the US, where they consistently leave sweaty, stunned and jubilant audiences in their wake. They’re bringing the dance roadshow to Canada this summer. Get ready.
Biography by Shereen Samuels